Buddhist Calendar

The Buddhist calendar, like the Hindu calendar, began in India and varies according to geographical region. Among Buddhist groups, the process for calculating the new year's date varies. 

Theravada Buddhists (mostly in Sri Lanka, Laos, Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia) use a Hindu calendar to calculate the months and the new year by the position of the sun in reference to the twelve segments of the sky, each named after a zodiac sign. 

  • When the sun enters Aries, which occurs between April 13th and April 18th, the solar new year starts. 
  • The duration of the lunar months alternates between twenty-nine and thirty days. 
  • Except for the Burmese Buddhist calendar, which starts in April, the first lunar month is typically in December (see Hindu Calendar above for Burmese names). 
  • Intercalary days are added to the seventh month on a regular basis, and an intercalary month is introduced every few years. 
  • The months are referred to by number in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. 

Tibetan Buddhists, whose calendar is strongly influenced by the Chinese calendar, start the new year on the full moon closest to Aquarius' midway. 

Mahayana Buddhists (mainly in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Korea, and Japan) follow the Buddhist, Chinese, or Gregorian calendars for their festivals.

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.